With another transport disaster, Joe Tripodi reportedly keeping his ill-deserved ministerial pay packet, and Town Hall contract shenanigans under Frank Sartor coming home to very expensively roost, everything is normal in Sussex Street’s NSW.

It will take time to uncover the exact cause of the overnight Sydney Harbour ferry tragedy with three dead and a child missing, but whoever ends up wearing the blame, it is just another page in the very sorry saga of the city’s public transport – a saga littered with empty ministerial promises.

When Morris Iemma pledged that the trains wouldn’t break down again, I thought we had the full set along with “no child will live in poverty” and “peace in our time”, but now he has the opportunity to add to it.

No wonder Sydneysiders are cynical about the Rum State’s governance. And for all Dilemma’s efforts to present himself as a political virgin birth, his parentage is underlined by today’s Tripodi and Sartor stories.

The reality remains that Morris Iemma is Richo’s little mate and a creature of the “Terrigals” faction. It was the Terrigals who delivered the leadership to Morrie and I can think of no other reason but loyalty to the Terrigals for keeping Tripodi on the ministerial payroll. So much for renewal.

Meanwhile the Town Hall story is a reminder of the Terrigals’ eminence grise, Eddie Obeid, and the danger of Frank Sartor enjoying carte blanche over any development proposal that takes his fancy.

As Kate McClymont reports, Sydney City Council is coughing up some $4.5 million to settle a damages claim resulting from then-mayor Frank Sartor stripping a company of a street pole contract:

The contract to supply the poles was subsequently awarded to Streetscape Projects, a company run by Mr Obeid’s sons, Paul and Moses, despite Streetscape having come last in the council’s tender assessment.

The behaviour of the council in repudiating Goldspar’s contract was the subject of strong criticism by Justice Roger Gyles in the Federal Court last year.

Yep, elections come and go, but the NSW government doesn’t change.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey